The Kelly Heinz-Grundner Foundation (KHG) was established in 2005 by Chris Grundner as a tribute to his wife, Kelly, who passed away from a brain tumor at the age of 31. The goal in starting the Foundation was to play a significant role in the fight against brain tumors, especially in the area of awareness. In 2008, KHG launched the GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME® Brain Tumor Awareness Walk, an event designed to raise awareness for brain tumors and also to bring together patients, survivors, family members, and friends in an inspiring atmosphere of love and support. The same year, KHG launched the GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME Awareness campaign in Delaware with a three-month pilot test.
Two years later, in March, 2010, KHG merged with the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), giving KHG the opportunity to share its message with a national audience. Later that year, KHG partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to release a Continuing Medical Education program, "Latest Advances in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Malignant Gliomas," geared specifically for radiologists, neuro-surgeons, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and other healthcare professionals interested in the treatment of gliomas.
The GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME® Brain Tumor Awareness Movement went national in April, 2011, as a call-to-action for brain tumor awareness. The goal of GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME® is to help people learn the facts about brain tumors and find ways to take action in the fight against brain tumors.
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About Chris and Kelly
Chris and Kelly met while working together in 1992 in Colorado. Kelly had moved to Colorado in 1991 after high school and Chris moved there in 1992 after college. At first they were limited to a work-focused friendship, but when Kelly moved back home to Saginaw, Michigan in late 1992 and Chris moved back home to Buffalo, New York in early 1993, the couple expressed their deeper feelings about one another. By August of 1993 things were in full swing and Chris and Kelly decided to put an end to their long-distance relationship. Kelly moved to Buffalo to be with Chris and to go to college. Then, four years later, Kelly and Chris were married in Michigan.
In 1999, Kelly and Chris moved to Wilmington, Delaware where Chris had gotten a job. They were still in Delaware in 2002 when Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumor that September. After a long and courageous battle, Kelly passed away in September of 2004.
Meaning of the Dragonfly
In many cultures, the dragonfly is regarded as a symbol of light, adaptability, grace, and transformation. Its ability to reflect and refract light is responsible for the dragonfly's status as a "light-bearer," as well as a symbol of all the power and presence that is associated with light and love.
The dragonfly was chosen as the symbol for KHG because its beauty and symbolism were so symbolic of Kelly. Like the dragonfly, Kelly had a sparkle that came from the light that was the essence of who she truly was. Kelly exuded this light and love even in the darkest moments of her illness and in doing so was a beacon of hope and inspiration to us all. What's more, when Kelly became ill, she was able to adapt, with the speed, maneuverability and grace of the dragonfly, and to accept the path that life gave her even though it was not at all the life she planned. Kelly also transformed and matured through her illness, and as she did, her truest colors came through even more vibrantly.
Through your generosity, National Brain Tumor Society is a leader in the fight against brain tumors. Over the past three years NBTS has funded over $10 million in brain tumor research. We look forward to the day when our services will no longer be needed. In the meantime, we will continue to advance our mission. And with your help, we will continue to inspire hope and make a difference in the brain tumor community. Make a donation today.
NBTS tax ID number (also referred to as EIN): 04-3068130